Hooray for victories!!!! Now there was plenty to criticize, but also some good stuff. I'll talk about it all, but remember, tough love is still love. I'm very happy we won, but that doesn't mean I don't want us to continue to improve from week-to-week. So yes, I'm going to be critical, but to not point out issues we still have would be ridiculous. OK, here we go!
I really do like the way that Derrick Webb plays. He's still young and still overpursues more often than he should, but man can he hit. Second play of the game and he manages to take the CSU fullback completely out of a play while filling against the run.
Follow the jump to see just how early David decided to rewatch the game this morning!
Penalties. Ugh. There were just so darn many! And so many personal fouls that gave up huge chunks of yards! This is ridiculous. I wasn't kidding in the quick hits when I said that if we don't get these cleaned up, we won't be sniffing another victory all year. You can't spot the rest of the teams on our schedule (except maybe UCLA) 100+ yards in penalties and hope to keep the game close.
You know what? Colorado State did a really good job of calling the plays. Watching this again (and without all of the emotions attached), I'm starting to think they actually played pretty well. That TE screen early was a brilliant play call. They saw what we were doing coverage-wise with our linebackers and managed to get two blockers outside on Greg Henderson pretty quickly to eliminate him from the play. We are lucky that Ray Polk is so darn fast, otherwise that might've gone for another 10+ yards.
Doug Rippy plays fast. He does have to be careful, though. He likes to jump across the line while trying to anticipating the snap count on blitzes, but experienced centers will catch him offsides every time.
Ray Polk is starting to make good safety plays.
Parker Orms hits much harder than you'd think for a guy his size coming off of a knee injury.
Pete Thomas did a great job scrambling. We fell into the same trap we did against Hawaii (but not Cal). We seem to not want to account for QBs who aren't generally considered to be runners. This could get us into trouble, hopefully it isn't too much of a trend.
And on the first TD of the game, he did an excellent job of scrambling away from the pressure and found the open spot in the defense to make it into the endzone. I almost can't fault our defense for that, because he just made a great play.
Kyle Washington (true freshman) was back there to return kicks with Toney Clemons. He might've had a nice return on the first one if he had been able to keep his footing. Lets see if he gets a chance to take a kick back next week.
Tyler McCulloch could have helped spring Paul Richardson for a nice gain after a quick pass to him in the flat, but he couldn't get his hands on the cornerback quickly enough. I like that play, especially with him out there (because when they run it with Deehan, teams know to expect this play), so he has to be able to make that block in the future.
CSU was using a TON of motion to try to catch our defense out of position. We did a solid job of not letting that mess us up. I'm proud of that!
Interesting that we started the game with Alex Lewis at left tackle if Dannewitz was available to play. I'm sure Lewis will be pretty good for us down the road, but he still needs some work. He let guys get into his body pretty easily, and he still doesn't quite have the ballast to anchor against stronger defensive players.
CSU did an excellent job of dealing with our pass rush. They kept extra guys in to block a lot and it worked, but we also held up in deep coverage.
Have I mentioned lately that I really like Greg Henderson? He mixes it up against everyone, and he does a pretty good job of wrapping up and making big hits.
Tyler Hansen had Ryan Deehan WIDE open running right down the middle of the field, but had to throw it quickly and the pass was just slightly long. Deehan might've been able to reel it in, but he was mid-stride and it would've been an incredible catch.
Pete Thomas has gotten pretty good at escaping pressure in the pocket. It's a function of the quality of the offensive lines that he's had for the last two years, but it means he's getting to be a pretty good QB.
Anthony Perkins had a pretty good game yesterday. He made a lot of good, solid tackles. Nothing too spectacular, but a good game.
Ryan Dannewitz came into the game at left tackle about halfway through the second quarter. I wonder if it was truly a coincidence that right around the time he entered the game, our offense finally found a rhythm...
It's funny, just as I type that, Dannewitz teams with Evan Harrington to open up a huge hole for Rodney Stewart on a run that gets us to the 11 yardline. Yeah, it definitely wasn't a coincidence. Also, Harrington is becoming a solid fullback. It's too bad we didn't redshirt him last year. Thanks a lot, Hawkins...
Ray Polk really did have a good game. The hit he laid on the CSU receiver at the end of the first half was perfect. He expertly separated the ball from the receiver, and did it both legally and very hard.
CSU burned us a number of times with the screen pass, but our defense finally got a feel for it. When they finally got a handle on it, CSU had no chance to run it again for most of the game.
Paul Richardson had a couple of big drops right at the end of the first half. Lets hope that doesn't become a thing to watch.
Deehan made a very alert play to recover the blocked punt. It was a CSU mistake, but a very heads up play for Deehan to jump on it as soon as he saw it had been touched again by CSU.
Our second touchdown of the game, the throw to Kyle Cefalo, was a great job by both Hansen and the receiver. It was a perfect scramble drill, and it was important for us to get that score before the half.
Toney Clemons finally had a pretty nice return of a kick as well to begin the second half.
Tyler Hansen definitely made some interesting mistakes this week. He tripped up Rodney Stewart on a run, he missed an easy shovel pass that would've gone for a pretty solid gain, and he made some funky throws.
The TD throw to Toney Clemons was an absolutely perfectly run play action pass. Hansen got the entire defense to bite, leaving Clemons wide open. Perfect! I haven't seen one that effective in a long time.
Our defense got leaky again at the end of the 3rd quarter. They ran a center screen that went for a big gain, and then a draw up the middle that got another first down. We fixed it, but it was scary for a bit that we would just be open to huge gains again.
Does everyone here remember the odd play that CSU called on the pass back to the QB Thomas? Greg Henderson hit him hard, but more importantly, who puts their QB in that situation? To have his back turned to the defense in order to catch a pass? That's a dumb play. That's just a terrible plan. They're lucky he wasn't hit by someone bigger, because he got up slowly as it was.
CSU's other TD was on a trick play. That was all they could do to score against us, which is a good thing, but it's still too bad that we were susceptible to that. It was just a receiver throwing the ball to a TE that was left wide open after the CSU QB got the ball out to the wideout. But that's why teams run those trick plays. They work.
It was tough seeing Daniel Munyer go down on the screen pass early in the fourth quarter. I guess center is the one position where we have a little depth, but we can't really afford to keep losing guys along the line.
We ran an unbalanced line out on a play (that didn't work) in the fourth quarter. Interesting, I'm excited to see if we keep using it throughout the season. College teams don't face that very often, so I feel like it can be a successful alignment for us. We lines up Sione Tau to the left of Dannewitz, the left tackle, which gives us three linemen to the left of the center.
We saw a couple of wildcat plays and defended each of them well.
Richardson had another big drop in the middle of the fourth. I really hope this will be limited to this game.
And the drop occurred during the amazing drive we had. That was a thing of beauty (thanks to the assist by the facemask penalty by CSU), and hopefully it's something that our offensive line looks to for confidence and to improve on.
It's too bad we had that holding penalty on Dannewitz (not to mention the earlier one on the drive by Ethan Adkins) to wipe out the nice reception by Evan Harrington. He's becoming a weapon for us, and you want to do nice things like target your fullbacks occasionally. But it goes in the gametape, and that will be a good thing for our opponents to see.
Hansen has been making some good plays with his feet the past two weeks. It's good to see that this coaching staff will let him both be a QB, and trust him to make the occasional play on the run. And they rewarded him by letting have two QB keeper TDs in the game.
And as good as that drive was, it was followed up by an equally awful occurrence: ANOTHER FRIGGIN KICKOFF WENT OUT OF BOUNDS!!!!!!!?????!?!?!?!?!? I'm sorry, it's just that this has happened once in all three of our games this season. And it's been two different kickers that have done it. This still hasn't been fixed!
But again, we won, and that's what matters! It wasn't the prettiest of wins, but it was Jon Embree's first, and it was an important one for us to get. We've got a big game next week, so hopefully we can fix the problems that came up against CSU, and continue to build on what we did well. Ohio State looks as beatable as they ever have, so we need to have a great week of preparation!